Jewish Community protesting antisemitism in Manchester demonstration.
(photo credit: RAPHI BLOOM)
MANCHESTER – In a rare display of community solidarity, more than 2,500 Jews demonstrated here Sunday against the rising tide of antisemitism in the UK, and in particular their discontent with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Politicians from both the Conservative and Labour parties addressed the crowd, as did the UK’s Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis.
“Six months ago the outstanding decision was made by the Jewish community in London to protest in front of Parliament. Ever since, the situation has only worsened, so we felt that, as the second biggest Jewish community in the UK, it was Manchester’s turn to say enough is enough,” Raphi Bloom, co-chair of North West Friends of Israel, one of the organizers of the protest, told The Jerusalem Post.
“People from all denominations have come together in this protest,” Bloom continued, “Religious, non-religious, haredim and Reform. We are all standing together to make our voice heard.”
The protest is a show of strength in light of the developments within the Labour party, he explained. “More and more people in power feel able to express things about Jews, the Jewish community, Jewish feelings without any repercussions.”
Antisemitic attacks in the UK have reached an all-time high over the last year, with nearly four incidents registered every day.
“We won’t be told how antisemitism should be defined
,” Raphi explained. “We will say what we think antisemitism is. We’re not going anywhere. The Jewish community has proudly dedicated itself and contributed to the UK for centuries. We’re not going anywhere.”
Nevertheless, when asked about what would happen if Corbyn would become prime minister in the next election, he replied that he believes many Jews will leave the country.
“A few weeks ago, when Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell... was asked whether he could guarantee that he would keep up security funding for Jewish communities in case of becoming chancellor, he replied that ‘they would review all expenditures,’” Bloom said. “That is outrageous.”
“Corbyn needs to say sorry. He needs to apologize for all he’s done to the Jewish community. For calling Hamas his friends, for honoring the Munich terrorists, for allowing antisemitism to flourish.”
Yet, Bloom expressed hope. “The protest has been a great success. We’ve received massive media coverage. So many people from so many backgrounds turned up to say enough is enough. This is a show of strength from all of us to the entire community.”